In 1968, after obtaining a degree, Mitoraj went to Paris to study at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts. He started there as a painter and graphic artist; in 1976 he had an exhibition in the La Hune gallery in the Latin Quarter, linked to the bookshop of the same name.Later he took up sculpture. It was not long before he was offered to prepare an exhibition for the ArtCurial gallery in Paris, managed by the nephew of the then French President Mitterand. In order to prepare the works for this exhibition, Mitoraj spent a year in the centre of bronze foundries and marble masons in Pietrasanta, Italy. There he created his first works made of bronze, as well as his first monumental sculptures of white marble from the nearby Carrara.Mitoraj is considered one of the greatest contemporary sculptors. His works can be found in dozens of museums, foundations and headquarters of the largest corporations in the world.
In an interview, the artist recalled his first years as an emigrant with melancholy:
I find it absurd when someone says that I have made it in life. I have worked for my success for over 30 years. I earn money with art and it gives me freedom. I have indeed been very lucky, because I have never had to ask for my works to be shown in galleries and I have never been forced to put them out to tender, but before I became free, I had to go through the mill. When I first started my artistic career, I was earning a living by carrying pianos and furniture to the sixth floors of Parisian buildings.
In 2009 Mitoraj created the so-called Angelic doors for the Church of Our Lady of Grace in Warsaw’s Old Town. He had previously created similar doors for the Santa Maria degli Angeli Church in Rome. According to the artist, ‘some may be shocked by the completely unconventional image of the Madonna, looking down towards two angels captured in motion’.On 5th October, 2005, Mirotaj was honoured by the then Minister of Culture Waldemar Dąbrowski with a Gold Medal for Merit to Culture Gloria Artis during a ceremony in the Kraków City Hall. On 24th April, 2012, he was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta by the President Bronisław Komorowski ‘for outstanding contribution to Polish and world culture, for creative and artistic achievements’; the honouring ceremony took place on 3rd May, 2012."
(Source: PPA, October 2014, transl. Bozhana Nikolova, April 2015 culture.pl )